Monday, June 22, 2009

Excuse me, do you have the time? Oh wait, no, don't tell me.

I have this technique I sometimes use at the gym when I'm running on the treadmill: I cover the timer portion of the screen with my towel. This prevents me from knowing how long I've been going...or more importantly, how long I've got left. It's a game I play with myself: I pretend that I don't care how long I've been running. Sometimes it helps. Other times, I spend a great deal of my time on the treadmill trying to guess-timate how long I've been running, and then peeking underneath the edge of the towel to see if I'm right.

It seems that this is how I'm telling time over the summer. I keep trying to just go with the flow, not look at the clock, but sometimes..I peek.

I have always been envious of those people who walk around, living their lives without a watch, not measuring every deed, activity, and errand by the minute hand. It must be so freeing. Because I don't just wear a watch to be on time for work and appointments; I wear a watch to oppress myself. Everything is calculated, measured in minutes and seconds, and when my estimates are off, it frustrates and overwhelms me: "If I arrive at the gym at 3:45, I can be warmed up and working out by 3:55. By 4:55 I can start my cool down. That means I can get out of there by 5:05, run to the dry cleaners, and make it home by 5:30." What this means is that during my entire workout, I'm keeping track of the time and further estimating how long each activity will take. If I'm home at 5:47, then my neurotic brain reads it as "it's almost 6:00" and now my evening routine is "off." And "off" by what? Who says the kids have to be tucked in by 7:45 instead of 7:58? That's the completely screwed up thing about me and time...that usually I'm stressing about self-imposed, non-important, randomly selected time lines. I am just constantly watching the clock tick, literally, and it makes me feel like I'm drowning. All the time. Gasp. it's summer. And during my very first week out of work, I was amazed when I realized that the kids did not need to wake up at the crack of dawn the next day, and I had an entire day to fit in a trip to the gym, and the errands that were not completed today could be run tomorrow. I realized that time really, truly did not matter that much (notice the "that much" steps, people). So I made a pledge with myself: I am not wearing a watch this summer. I've been pretty good. I'm not gonna lie. It's been tough. Everyday when I slip on my wedding ring, I automatically reach for my watch. And then...I put it back in the drawer...and usually put some other accessory on my left wrist because, well, it's NAKED. And it feels really, really light.

But here's the thing with today's world...there are clocks EVERYWHERE. Like right now, while I'm blogging and trying not to think about how tired I am and how I still have to get some stuff ready for tomorrow's activities and I haven't even taken a shower and I still absolutely must give myself a pedicure and reminding myself it really, truly just doesn't matter what time it is because...hey, it's summer...and this is the New Me...and I can go to sleep at whatever bedtime I damn well please...and I don't need to know what time it is because...lookie here...on my left wrist is a lovely turquoise and brown leather cuff, not a watch, so I am not calculating the exact minutes left to complete this blog and then go on to accomplish everything else on my "Must Do Before Bed Tonight" list but Oh Crap...there it is on my computer monitor: 9:48 p.m. And when I am done here and go on to my bedroom, the green glaring digits of the stove will tell me what time it is, and I will try very, very hard not to calculate how much time I thought I was going to spend blogging and how much time I will still need to find the Flirty Fuchsia polish for my toes...
That's the thing with real clocks versus treadmill timers: you don't even need to lift the edge of the towel to peek.


  1. Liz! I know what you mean. How about at night, when the baby wakes, and you look at the clock and calculate how long (or short) it's been since s/he last woke. And then you calculate how much (i.e., how little) sleep you've had. And how many hours are left in the night. And how, even if you are able to sleep for every second of those hours you still won't get enough tonight. Just for instance, I mean. (I long ago removed any and all time pieces from my bedroom. Good luck with the watch-less summer. Better ditch the cell phone, too.)

  2. I'm in a never-ending race against time. And if one thing gets put off by 2 minutes, everything else after it suffers, too.

    I used to be so punctual, and I've become someone who's always late. Hate it.

  3. I think it's an OCD thing. I even have my clock 10 minutes ahead in the car so I fool myself that I am running behind, but I am actually, "semi" on-time. That micro-managing every last second is tedious, tiresome and time consuming...actually detrimental to what you are trying to accomplish...ARGGHH!

  4. Um, Liz? You're going to balk at this one for sure, buuuuuuuut I have an idea for you. Hee hee hee. Have a third. Really, go ahead. Go for it. Okay, I know it's crazy and almost ridiculous. Okay, a lot ridiculous. I'm just sayin.... It helps a LOT win all the things you fret about (which I adore that you fret about) because while the first few months with three takes massive adjusting, the resulting Adjustment is called LETTING GO. Surrendering.

    Okay, No Way, you say? Go back to yoga, sans watch.


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